SPOILERS Unseen Academicals **Spoilers**

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Tonyblack

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#1
We can use this thread to talk about Unseen Academicals with spoilers so we don't spoil the book for those who haven't read it yet. :)
 

poohcarrot

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Sep 13, 2009
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#3
I think there is a connection between there not being any US proofs and the fact that there are no chapters. I think Sir TP has told his US publishers to go stuff themselves and he's going to do things how HE wants to do them, not how they want them to be done. :twisted:
 

Jason

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Jul 10, 2008
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#4
poohcarrot said:
I think there is a connection between there not being any US proofs and the fact that there are no chapters. I think Sir TP has told his US publishers to go stuff themselves and he's going to do things how HE wants to do them, not how they want them to be done. :twisted:
Nope, not at all. It was just that there was precious little time to edit the book because it came in so late. Normally you can expect to see proofs 3 months before the books are released. This time it was about six weeks.

A decision was made to keep the editing to a minimum. So to ensure that the best book was released only one set of editing was done. The US just picked up the UK manuscript.

As for there not being any chapters - the only two books that have chapters (in the adult series) is Going Postal and Making Money. Thud came between the two and didn't have chapters. I think it has always been Terry's choice.
 

poohcarrot

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#5
Um...er...Jason, you've just agreed with me.

I say there was no US proof so the US publishers couldn't edit, because TP didn't want it altered.

You say, "A decision was made to keep the editing to a minimum. So to ensure that the best book was released only one set of editing was done. The US just picked up the UK manuscript."

:p
 

Jan Van Quirm

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#6
You're reading selectively again smartypants :laugh:

Jason's saying the same thing as you but for a different reason, not the reason you're postulating - that there was no time to get separate proofs for the US market.

Didn't we have this discussion about chapters GP and MM before? Terry's on record as saying that he liked the Dickensian method of giving little teasers in the chapter headings and GP certainly (haven't got around to MM still :rolleyes: ) is very Dickensian in flavour. So Jason's most likely correct in this. Besides which it would cost money to make what are essentially quite drastic changes to the typesetting of the novel to add chapters - so it's just stupid to take out something that's been put in by by the author.

Terry's at the height of his craft and so he's playing with presentation and deliberately styling it meet the ambience he's wanting people to assign to these particular books. In other words he wants to have chapters and teasers and because he's a hugely successful and respected writer his publisher is following his instincts and going along with it. There's no question of having a different publishing criteria for the UK and the US and even if there was and, as I suspect what you're saying here is that the US, being a highly conservative market, is dictating publishing styles in the UK, then why would they suddenly want chapters in Discworld books when all the others haven't had them?

US publisher: What in hell is Terry at here? Chapters?! He's never had chapters before! Why's he want chapters now? People won't like him having chapters! They'll hate it in fact! No! No! No!
Terry: I want chapters - they fit in with the tone of my book and I fancy a change.
UK Publisher: Hmmm - you have a point *and we want to keep your account 'cos they sell like hotcakes* OK! We'll go for it if that's what you really want.
US Publisher (to UK publisher): What? You will? *looks at calculator and sees some advantages in having chapter headings...* OK - if it's what you really really want... When d'ya wanna to roll the presses guys?

If Terry didn't put the chapter breaks in himself then nobody else would have bothered. Simple as.
 

Tonyblack

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Jul 25, 2008
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#7
If and when Raising Taxes (the speculative title for a possible third Moist book) is ever written, we may find that Terry uses chapters again. It may be a style he's adopted for the Moist books. I would certainly say that if there are no chapters when that book comes out, then he's decided that he doesn't want to bother. But I think it has always been Terry's decision to include the chapters. :)
 

Dotsie

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Jul 28, 2008
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#8
Mine are dry as a bone. What have you been doing to yours, hmmm?



;)
 

Jan Van Quirm

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#10
Jan Van Quirm said:
UK Publisher: Hmmm - you have a point *and we want to keep your account 'cos they sell like hotcakes* OK! We'll go for it if that's what you really want.
In the UK Pooh m'dear - are you sure you don't need glasses? ;)

And if that's the case and he doesn't sell too well there, why would they bother to add chapter headings and add to production costs when usually he doesn't have them?
 

poohcarrot

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#11
Jan Van Quirm said:
And if that's the case and he doesn't sell too well there, why would they bother to add chapter headings and add to production costs when usually he doesn't have them?
*Here we go again!*

This is my theory;

It is because TP doesn't sell amazingly well in the US that I believe the concept of chapters were introduced. The US publishers asked him to put in chapters to help increase sales, because the American reading public doesn't like books without chapters. (It doesn't add to production costs if TP does it himself!)

(It's probably a pants theory, but it's mine!)
 

poohcarrot

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#13
1. ”Very few of the Discworld novels have chapter divisions, instead featuring interweaving story-lines. Pratchett is quoted as saying that he "just never got into the habit of chapters", later adding that "I have to shove them in the putative YA books because my editor screams until I do".”

2. ”Life doesn't happen in chapters— at least, not regular ones. Nor do movies. Homer didn't write in chapters. I can see what their purpose is in children's books ("I'll read to the end of the chapter, and then you must go to sleep") but I'm blessed if I know what function they serve in books for adults.”

3. ”I know some people also find Pratchett's narrative style annoying. He writes in sections (no chapters), meaning the book is just one long chunk of text with just a blank line occasionally splitting them up.”

1 = TP says he doesn't do chapters. In YA books he does chapters because of Editorial pressure.

2 = TP justifies Editorial decision for chapters in YA books, but is against chapters for adult books.

3 = US critic attacking TP style.

It is impossible to say that TP never succumbs to editorial pressure, and that the decision to go with chapters in some adult books was purely TP's idea.
 

Jan Van Quirm

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#14
We have a fair number of American's on this site and though they may mostly be singular, intelligent and unusual people, being avid readers of not only Terry but many other authors as well, they're I expect pretty representative of people who like to read/own books over there. They're happy enough without chapters but, like most of the UK-born readers, don't mind when Terry does puts them in. When I first started reading Terry back in the early 80's I didn't much like that he never bothered with chapters for some of the reasons you give, mostly because I was used to them being there, but I soon got used to it and so it was never important to me that he never put them in, because, as you say it doesn't need them and anyway it's the words that count.

So now, because he's put chapters in 2 books, I don't really care that he's decided to be hidebound and traditional because the words are still the same and have their own power - I just ignore the chapter heading, mostly because I don't want or need the resume because I'm cutting to the chase. They're just frills and there as an ornament and people treat them accordingly - like a fashion statement that you accept or reject.

No publisher has that much power - they're in a cuthroat and in some respects dying industry (BTW the more fonts/typefaces that have to be set digitally or manually, the more it adds to the costs, especially if they're not part of the 'house' stable (in which case they have to buy a licence to use the copyrighted typeface and guess who pays for it?) - not by much, but the costs do go up and they're not in the business of giving that away for free). Also, because of that, you'll notice that publishers don't use the same printers all the time - they're cost-led and contracted to Terry, to the printers and to cover artists etc etc - their bottom line costs are very, very, tight. Contracts are fluid - if they push too hard then the author (the goose with the golden egg) - has the option to walk away and there are plenty of other houses out there who would snap Terry up at any price.

Realities. And if it is Terry 'giving in' then why not? Who cares? It's a very slight little thing at the end of the day. :)
 

poohcarrot

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#15
Jan Van Quirm said:
And if it is Terry 'giving in' then why not? Who cares? It's a very slight little thing at the end of the day. :)
Who cares? Not me. :laugh:

This started out with me making an observation about chapters, putting forward a possible reason for them, then getting shot down in flames by everyone, because there is no possible way I could be right. :laugh:
 

Batty

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Feb 17, 2009
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#16
poohcarrot said:
This started out with me making an observation about chapters, putting forward a possible reason for them, then getting shot down in flames by everyone, because there is no possible way I could be right. :laugh:
By everyone? Crikey! Are you sure?
 

Jan Van Quirm

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#19
*typing with tongue trying to decide whether to be in my cheek or poking out with effort of thinking...* :rolleyes:

Weaknesses of Pooh
day glo paint
mouthy domineering etc women (like Susan not Dotsie or moi - thank heavens)
Arguing the inarguable for the hell of it (e.g. chapters, men on the moon etc etc :p )

to be continued... ;)
 
Oct 15, 2009
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#20
I have been a huge Discworld fan for ages and have read all of the books several times. That being said I have to say I am a tad bit disappointed by Unseen Academicals.

First of all I don't like all the sudden changes this book brings (the Bursar gone, the Dean suddenly Archancellor of one of several new magical Universities,...). Next I think the changes to the characters of Vetinari, Ponder, Ridcully and Vimes aren't entirely befitting either. Vimes for example only has a couple of lines at the end of the book, but those really don't sound like the Vimes of old at all IMO.

As for the story itself I found it somewhat lacking as well. To me the book lacks both the tremendous humor of the earlier Discworld books and the captivating storyline that supplanted the humor in novels like 'Nightwatch'. The football references are fun and the book is a nice read, but it just isn't anything special like so many other Discworld books are. The characters for the most part remain somewhat shallow IMO and I really have a hard time to really connect with any of them.

If I would rank this book it would be somewhere between Making Money and Monstrous Regiment, but definitely not near the top of the Discworld novels as has been suggested in some of the reviews that I have seen so far.

Comments?
 

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